After discussions with officials of Yerawada Central Prison, the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday decided to examine two accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, Sudhir Dhawale and lawyer Surendra Gadling, in the same courtroom at the premises of the old Zilla Parishad where the hearings are currently underway.
Both Dhawale and Gadling are currently lodged in Yerawada jail and had filed affidavits before the commission, headed by retired Justice J N Patel. The commission had been formed by the state government last year to probe the violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 2018, in which one had died and several others were injured.
On Tuesday, Patel had asked the lawyer representing the state to communicate with the prison department to set up a “temporary court” on the premises of Yerawada Central Prison to examine Dhawale and Gadling.
A day later, U T Pawar, Superintendent of Yerawada Central Prison, held a meeting with officials of the commission. “The prison officer said they have been producing the accused before the court in Shivajinagar for hearings in the Elgaar Parishad case. So they said it was convenient to produce Dhawale and Gadling, one at a time, with sufficient police security in the old Zilla Parishad premises where the commission is carrying out its hearing regularly,” said advocate Ashish Satpute, the lawyer for the commission.
Activist Dhawale and Nagpur-based lawyer Gadling, who are likely to be examined on September 6 and 7, are among 23 people booked by the Pune City Police in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case for alleged links to the banned outfit CPI-Maoist.
Dhawale is among the key organisers of the Elgaar Parishad. In the chargesheet filed against him, it is alleged that the accused organised the Elgaar Parishad as per the objectives decided in an Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB) meeting of the banned CPI-Maoist. Organised ahead of the 200th commemoration of the battle of Koregaon Bhima, under the banner of “Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Prerna Din Abhiyaan”, the Parishad mobilised various Dalits and organisations against the government through alleged Maoist front organisation Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), the chargesheet claimed.
Meanwhile, Rajendra Gaikwad, who played a role in putting up the board with the disputed history in Vadhu Budruk village on December 28, 2017, appeared before the commission on Wednesday.
His chief examination was recorded, after which he complained of illness and stated that he wanted to collect some documents from government offices, therefore, his cross-examination was not conducted.
Then, advocate Kiran Channe, advocate Rahul Makhare and advocate Pushkar Durge cross-examined Sagita Kamble, the sarpanch of Koregaon Bhima village.